Attitude Is Everything...So Use A Good One

A client I am working for has that slogan as part of their e-mail signature. It's taking me time to have a good attitude inside. I spend much of my time listening to what other people believe in and subscribe to their reality. I must believe in what I believe.

I let negativity from others discourage me and I become negative because of it. When I'm down, life is not good at all.

Sometimes I let some people treat me like my opinions are idealistic or my personal experiences are not valid. I'm sorry but I've had things happen to me like being called a nigger(other hateful junk), faggot,  judged for wearing second-hand clothes that cost 60 cents(Mom couldn't afford Tommy Hilfiger), treated like I'm wait staff when I'm a customer or when I'm at a professional event. I've even have had people tell me that these things were in my head or are not as bad as they are. Really? Hard work can change things like economic status but I can't remove my ethnic heritage.

I didn't have much money growing up although my mother raised us in the illusion that we had stuff when really it was all a joke courtesy of credit card companies and child support checks. I hate the American Dream when it comes to money. It teaches you to feel deprived. Deprived of what?

I've dealt with loss by burying my own blood. I've gone from having a home to having nothing and a shaky support system. I learned how flighty people can be but also discovered enduring friendships. I learned loneliness behind a charming personae and personable attitude.

I grew up being told I was not worthy as a kid by peers and even recently as an adult. Of course I invite people to do so with my self-conscious nature. Because of this, I have taught myself that I am worth less than those around me and that these things are limitations. When my attitude becomes sour, I use those things to victimize myself.

I fight for approval by trying to please everyone even though I could never do half the things they ask of me–it makes me half-assed and perhaps extremely frustrated.

I've been told I shouldn't move to places because of crime (I could hit a deer out here and crash my car into a lake drowning to death), or that work in my field is limited and very competitive(Santa Fe Workshops has a large list of applicants yet I was hired by them three times) and that I shouldn't buy gear that I need because I don't have the cash on hand(I've used the same camera for six years so I'm not a big spender...).

I was criticized for myself expecting to find freelance work and setting financial goals that were deemed over-my-head. Even the recent job I landed was met with criticism(I confidently said I would get it). Only four people got the job and I was one of the four out of who knows.  I've been told that my belief that you can make a living doing the work you want to do, of course with some slight compromises, is an illusion and that it only applies to my world.

My friend Lauren told me to be proud of my accomplishments. Eric loves me and puts up with my moody days. My friend Corey wants me to succeed. Katie is proud of what I've done. Nikki, Vembu, Shaylee, and the list goes on...

I'm proud of what I've done. I'm proud that I'm marked as an ethnic minority(in a few years I'll be the majority) and that I'm second-class citizen that can't marry his own boyfriend in the state of Minnesota for fear that I am destroying the tradition of Marriage. I'm proud that I am the first in my mostly single-parent family to have a four-year degree I paid for.

Even if someone is talking down to me, I may not have as much knowledge as they do but I have more drive because I believe not in what you can't do but in what you can do. These limitations are empowering because I have to work harder to be heard. Kevin Vu taught me that these things aren't limitations but character builders.

I'm realizing that with a good attitude I should accept being underestimated. I will be judged by the work I make not by what I know. I could sit here pandering to photographers, directors, curators, cinematographers and listen to how they established their careers. All that is good for networking and learning about this world but I've wasted that time using their lives as goals to reach towards. I should look to myself and create my own goals based off of what I want for myself.

I got off of my ass and stopped the self-pity routine thanks to big kick from Kevin Vu. In three months I made a decision to try whatever is out there. I've achieved my small, financial freelance goals for the summer despite criticism. I am working on projects with my limited time. I'm trying new things because I've never done them before.

I want to learn. I want to make sure that the stuff I am trying enriches the future work I am making. I am also going to say no to any work that doesn't fit me. I don't have time to take jobs that don't fit. I'd rather relax and make some personal work, spend it with friends, or spend it all with my wonderful partner Eric. I don't need the money, even if it is nice to have. My time is worth more than a few hundred dollars. Once I figure out my niche, big bonus for me.

I'll probably get criticism about how there is no work here that I want to do, or that I have to take some jobs to get somewhere else, or that I've set expectations so high for myself. There is validity to these criticisms. Internships are great for upward movement. The fashion industry is not here but over on the coasts. Maybe I have expectations beyond what I am able to do?

I don't care.

What if I get my next physical and find out I have stage four cancer? It runs in my family. You know what I'll be thinking about?

I'll be thinking about all the things that I regret not doing. I have a list I play back when my attitude is low.

I already have a full-time job as a product photographer. I don't need to take extra jobs I don't want. Some days I'm afraid of taking the risk and going full bore into what I truly want to do by quitting my job, taking out an SBA loan and marketing the hell out of the Lance Thorn: Visual Artist brand.

Criticisms: How will you pay the loan back? Where will you find work? The economy is bad. Your location isn't ideal.

I'm not in this as a hobbyist. Every penny I spend is not on clothes, video games, or the latest and fastest cars–all my money feeds my creative work. Every piece of equipment I own and buy I use.

If I decide to stop playing it safe and take the risk I really want to do regardless of what people believe, I know I will be alright in the end. If I fail it will be hard to recover. At least I gave a regret a chance instead of never giving it life.

My attitude is good by-the-way. Perfect day, great conversation, lovely dinner and wine with talented, beautiful friends of mine.